Paper for cyanotype

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by nsurit, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,465
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Location:
    Texas Hill C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Has anyone had any experience with either ives BFK or johannot for cyanotypes? If so would one be recommended over the other? My guess is neither is high on the list of perfect papers, however I have some of each of them. Also have some COT 320, however probably not enough to complete the project and it is 11 X 14 which really isn't the size I want (14X17). I'm out in the sticks and getting to an art supply store is a bit of a challenge. Thanks in advance, Bill Barber
     
  2. Jadedoto

    Jadedoto Member

    Messages:
    147
    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    Lexington KY
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    BFK works just fine for cyanotype as it is. The newer BFK has a weird buffer in it, so if you plan on moving onto Van Dyke with it, you need to remove that by soaking it in a dilute solution of citric acid...

    BFK also doesn't shrink very well in my experience, so I wouldn't use it for something that needs multiple coats, you just won't get your registration exact (close, but never really great).
     
  3. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

    Messages:
    653
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Istanbul, Tu
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Nsurit, can't speak for BFK but various pages about Johannot says: (a.) 75% cotton + 25% esparto and (b.) Acid free / *buffered*.

    (a.) It's best to stay away from papers which are formed by a mixture of fibers; absorption characteristics of different fibers may differ considerably, and that may cause increased graininess. (Cyanotype et al. are extremely affected by the absorption characteristics of the substrate...) Cyanotype (by its nature) gives more grainy results than ...say... pt/pd, therefore it's best to avoid anything that may exacerbate this characteristic.

    (b.) Cyanotype - and any other iron / iron-silver process - is pretty sensitive to alkali conditions; you have to avoid alkali buffered papers at all costs - if you're after best possible results, optimum longevity, with minimum frustration.

    Look for pure cotton, *unbuffered / neutral pH*, *watercolor* papers. (N.B. Not printmaking papers, "watercolor" papers; printmaking papers are usually weakly sized / more absorptive compared to watercolor papers. Too much absorption may lessen the definition of the image, and weak sizing may cause handling problems - while wet processing - such as creasing or tearing, especially so with lightweight papers and - relatively - big image sizes...)

    Hope this helps,
    Loris.
     
  4. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

    Messages:
    276
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi Bill,

    I'm new to the process and have been using Cranes Platinotype for cyanotype. However a few days ago I printed this image on BFK:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gallery_alternative/6469814863/in/photostream

    Bostick & Sullivan recommends pre-coating BFK with Tween 20 or distilled water. I didn't have any Tween (it will be delivered today) so used distilled water and I believe that the streaking visible is due to not properly coating the water on the paper. I would be concerned about using BFK for cyanotype as it is a "buffered" paper.